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About this courseTravel with our video team as we trace the footsteps of the Apostle Paul through Greece and Rome and explore how one of the most influential figures in the Christian Church dealt with overcoming boundaries.
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Those commercials about “The Most Interesting Man In the World”? Lies.
This man is the most interesting man in the world.
We had the pleasure of having Theodore as our bus driver. He once was a soccer player for the team in Athens. Later on in his life, he had to serve time in the military and he worked as a driver. He decided to be a bus driver and now owns his own bus and I believe is self employed, but I’m not really sure.
Theodore Voyages. Look it up.
Theodore is probably the most amazing bus driver to have ever lived. Seriously. I have never felt safer in a bus. He drove a fifty passenger bus backwards up a mountain because he didn’t want to get his bus dusty by turning it around on the gravel at the top. Definition of class.
We needed a bus driver like Theodore for the places we went. One day, we drove for five hours in almost solely mountain terrain, on these narrow roads with steep drops on the side. For Theodore? No problem. In certain cities, we had to drive on even smaller roads, with cars lined on both sides, and turns that were practically 90 degrees. I don’t know if we were riding on the Night Bus from Harry Potter or what, but we somehow made it through those towns, literally without a scratch.
And may I add that I had no idea how fortunate we were to have a bus driver that could single handedly load 75+ suitcases into a bus in 15 minutes until we had to wait for 45 minutes for our Italian bus driver to load us up at the airport.
But most importantly, Theodore is a great guy. A real gentleman. He was the only soul brave enough to pick up the body of bird that flew into the window at the rest stop, and he proceeded to place it gently under a tree to rest in peace. He first met his wife by placing a rose on her seat during one of the tours on his bus. He pulled over his bus to save a turtle that was crossing the highway.
And Theodore was always so nice to me. I’d talk to him at breakfast and ask about Greek culture and about the language. We became really good friends by the end of the trip in fact! Every time I got on the bus, he would say “Yassu, Abby!”
Yasses and yassu both mean hello. Yasses is formal. Yassu is for friends.
Yassu Theodore. This ones for you! Thanks for everything you did for me and the class!
Disclaimer: I am not ripping on AVI Fresh.
That being said, I am so happy to be eating here for May term. When you eat food at the Rott everyday for every meal, you get a little tired of it (“The Rott” is a nickname for the school cafeteria that was around years before AVI took over).
But it’s not even so much that I’m not eating at the Rott. It’s that I’m eating in Greece.
If you were to survey the group about the food, you’d get a variety of responses. Some people love it. Others, not so much. I think a lot of people just assumed Greek food would just be really good food. That every bite would be this unforgettable sensation of pure, heavenly goodness.
It is good food. I think so. But just like in the states, some of the meals I had were great, some were ok, and some were bad. But you would be disappointed if you came in thinking that Greek food would just be better than American food.
It’s not better. It’s different.
I think what helped me was not restricting my diet based on what I liked and disliked in the states. I’m not a huge fan of feta, olives, or oil. So basically the building blocks of a Greek diet. But those ingredients are used in a completely different way in Greece. And I tried them. And I still don’t like olives. But at least I can say I tried.
What I’ve learned, or at least what I have decided for myself, is that if I am going to a foreign country, I’m not going to be picky. It’s a waste of time. It’s no use trying to decide whether you may like something before you try it (which can really apply to a lot more than just food, but that’s another topic in general).
By doing this, I’ve found that I’ve developed a Greek diet. Just thinking about Greek food tastes different in my mouth versus thinking about American food. Greek food is more oil. American food, fat. Both are great.
But I think, for now, I’ve had enough Greek salad, gyros, and baklava. Bring on the bruschetta, pizza, and canolis!
As Ron Burgundy would say, we’re kind of a big deal.
Well, at least people think we are.
There is something about boom mics and tripods that attract so much attention. Or make us look official. Or both. But every time we set up the camera in a public area, we always attract a crowd. Sometimes people just stop and stare for a bit. A lot of people take out their phones and snap pics. We’ve even had people stop and record us recording Bob. He’s practically an international super star.
The attention is not always positive, however. Many a frustrated Greek curator has come over to scold us. Which of course we don’t understand because it’s all Greek to us. (I had to once, right?) Don’t worry. We’ve got the permits, thanks to the magnificent Elizabeth Sparks. Efharisto Elizabeth!
But something about tripods just terrifies people. I was told once by an elderly woman in a church that we could use the camera, just not the tripod. In her words, we were not to use any “professional equipment”. Because the $500 tripod is far more professional than the camera that costs more than what I actually paid for this trip.
But it’s no surprise that we attract attention from the concerned and the curious. This whole country looks as if it could be green screened. There is no way that one country could be so beautiful. I’m jut surprised not more movies are filmed here.
But believe me that references to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Mama Mia are made on daily basis by bible and comm students alike. Yesterday on our cruise, we landed on an island that looked identical to the one from Sisterhood while the band on the cruise played the theme from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. And when we made our way down to the water, I was pretty sure that at any moment, Meryl Streep would pop out from behind a bush belting Dancing Queen.
Overall, I’m excited for our production. Between the rich history and scenery, we have what we need to make a high quality film.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll even get famous off this film! Or…as famous as you can get amongst avid PBS viewers.
To the comm students, finding free wifi is like finding the holy grail. It’s quite the quest but we will go to any length to find it. Athens has proven to be particularly difficult due to the fact that the hotel does not have free wifi. We buy water at Internet cafes, search desperately at museums, and I think a few of us tried to check on Mount Olympus for wifi. Just in case.
At the moment, all but two people are sitting in our (the girls) quad. Thanks to ThomsonE766FA, we all have access to that good ol’ world wide web. I have no idea who this Thomson fellow is. Probably this guy in the apartment across from our apartment. Regardless, I have to thank him for his Internet and for ringing us together.
Well, maybe just the internet. We’ve gotten closer as a film team on our own. Would it be rude to say I was surprised how quickly I’ve bonded with people on this trip? Maybe it was less that I was surprised and more that i just didn’t consider that aspect of the trip. Either way, I’m so glad it’s happening.
I have to take the time to recognize the film crew. I have had such a good time with them! It has been such a pleasure to work with such amazing, talented, creative, clever people. Everyone brings something different to the table and we really feel like a team. I also am really thankful for all the upperclassmen in the class. They have been very patient and kind and are always giving me tips, advice, and encouragement. On too of that, I have so much fun with them. From various meetings, dinners, and outings we now have a slew of inside jokes, including a dance move. (Make sure to ask Kyle for a demonstration.)
I’m also getting to know a lot of people in the bible class better. For a school of 800, I would have thought I knew everyone. I seriously knew maybe a third of the students by name and there were several students I had never seen before.
But this trip has been invaluable in the way that it has helped me to know more upperclassmen. It’s easy to get stuck in the KMY bubble (the dorms). But as hokey as it sounds, I really am learning from my “elders”. As I’ve said before, many of these students have much more experience traveling. But in general, they have “been there, done that” and have a lot to share with me. It’s been a humbling experience to realize that I don’t have it all together. Nor should I.
But I will say this. I have failed at my goal to not befriend seniors. I just finished a senior year, and I wasn’t ready to meet really awesome people and then have to see them go. But this is a once in a lifetime trip and I would never think twice about my decision to go here. So why would I ever regret making friends here? Because really, people are once in a lifetime.
When it comes to running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I’m a pro. I have mastered the art of frantic running, jumping, talking, and filming. Watching me film under pressure is quite the sight.
A few days ago, I was the producer of the B team and we were shooting B-roll (the background film you see during interviews) and we were told we had an hour to film. I was setting up shots in ancient Philippi. I was running around ancient Philippi. Climbing the stairs, hopping on the walls, swinging from the columns in ancient Philippi.
Then, mid-jump between an ancient market place wall and the entrance of some unknown structure, it hit me.
This is ancient Greece. I’m in Greece. I am running around, filming, in one of the most historically significant countries to the Christian faith.
I paused. Touched the nearest pillar. Felt the moment. Then sprinted to the next shot.
Everyday of this trip, I have been dumbstruck by the awesomeness of this country. And when I mean awesome, I’m referring to the original meaning of awesome. A term to signify beauty, power, spirituality. Finding wifi is great. The view from Mount Olympus is awesome.
It’s just astounding. We’ve all seen movies of Greece. The pristine blue skies, the quaint towns, the unbelievable landscapes. The movies don’t do it justice. And we all come to Greece, take thousands of pictures, and see why they can’t.
It’s not possible. I’ve tried.
I could go on. I could go on about the sights, about the culture, the people, the food, the atmosphere, the moments. I will try my best to portray everything. But a thousand words, a thousand pictures, will never be enough to capture Greece. Thank goodness.
I will end with this for today. I napped on the bus this morning and dreamt about home. For the first time in my life, I awoke from reality to find myself in a dream.
I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
I’m turning twenty the day after we get back from Greece. When I was younger, I had always thought twenty was old. That I would be a grown up.
I am still very much a child. Well, at least it is easy to feel that way when I am one of three first years in a group of nearly fifty people. Most of the students are juniors and seniors and many have gone on SST. I’m working with third, fourth year comm majors who have worked in production teams and spent twice as much time, if not more, with filming equipment. I mean, to be honest, I’m still not 100% sure what ISO really is.
So what do you do if you’ve never been out of the country, are surrounded by people you hardly know, and are working everyday with equipment that you have minimal experience with?
Simple really. Realize how much you don’t know and find out as much as possible.
I’ve been asking questions like crazy around here. How does this work? What do you do when this happens? How does this look? How does this sound? Do I need this? Should I do that? What does his mean? What does this do? I’m really fortunate to be here with Goshen students though (and no, I didn’t get paid to say that). All the students and professors are friendly and more then willing to answer my questions. The people we are traveling with, David, Elizabeth, and Theodore, are amazing too! They are just as excited to have us here as we are to be here.
As far as being in Greece itself, I’m loving it! While my friends are walking back to the dorms under a cloudy sky in almost sixty degree weather, I’m on the other side of the world in eighty degree weather, sitting on a pier watching the last golden rays of the sun strike Mount Olympus. It’s hard to beat.
I’m looking forward to learning more about Greece, Paul, filming, other students, and who knows, maybe even myself. Wishing everyone well and wish us luck!